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Concept Briefing Essay

Abstract This briefing describes collocation of bibliographic records and how it helps to formulate effective search strategies resulting in good information retrieval. Collocation is the cataloging process of bringing together related items, such as titles written by the same author, editions, and versions of the same title, or materials on the same topic. This briefing also provides examples of the value of collocation in maintaining a successful library catalog such as compiling all information on Princess Diana in one record would be an example of collocation.

Use of collocation in bibliographic records can provide vast improvement in information retrieval. Introduction Cataloging is a register of all bibliographic items found in the library. Items can be any kind of entity that is a library based material (book, magazine, audiobook, etc. ). Bibliographic control, cataloging teaches us, encompasses all the activities involved in creating, organizing, managing, and maintaining the file of an entity record. To maintain consistency in multiple matching entities, catalogers use the process of collocation to bring them together.

The better the catalog, the higher the credibility a library has with its users. Users’ are more content with fast, accurate and effective retrieval of information. All collections, either physical or virtual, are formed through collocation, the process of bringing together related information (Taylor 1999). It is a useful term because it emphasizes the purpose of collection building and can be applied to the different means used to bring together materials. Collocation is often associated with physical location, such as when materials written by the same author are placed together on shelves in library.

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A library catalogue also provides collocation by bringing together like materials through a system of records and references. In the electronic age, collocation is associated with virtually grouping materials together, ”there is evidence that people writing about the same concept often do not use the same words to express them. (Taylor, 2009, p. 333) Definition According to Arlene Taylor, collocation is “the bringing together of records and/or information resources that are related in some way (e. g. same author, same work [different titles or different editions], same subjects, etc,). As all cataloged materials have a call number, collocated materials can be assigned a collocation device. “A number or other designation on an item used to place it next to (ie. , collocate with) other items that are like it. ” (Taylor, 2009, p. 449) Purpose and implications The purpose behind cataloging was established in 1876 by Charles Ammi Cutter. They were: (1) to enable a patron to find a book by author, title, or subject; (2) to show what the library has by a given author, on a given subject, or in a given kind of literature; and (3) to assist in the choice of a book as to the edition, or as to its character. Cutter’s objects describe two distinct-functions for the catalog: a finding list function and a collocation (gathering) function. ” (Intner, 200 , p. 2) In cataloging, all publications of an author are filed in one place under the heading for the author’s name. Editions of a work are together under the heading for the title. Then, finally, all subjects are gathered under a subject heading. Authority control is the procedure by which consistency would be maintained through these various headings. A library patron could search the records by a name, title, or subject search. Through collocation, all of these searches are brought together. Primary access points also provide a way to collocate all derivations of the work. If there are several manifestations of a work—a translation, an illustrated version, an audio version—choosing the same primary access point for them means that in most retrieval tools they will be displayed together. ” (Taylor, 2006, p. 171) Collocation is an important outcome of the practice of choosing primary access points. “This access point has proved to be, so far, the only way to collocate all manifestations of a work, including instances when manifestations have different titles, and editions have different authors. ” (Taylor, 2009, p. 269)

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